Mid Length surfboards, what???
If you are thinking about a mid length surfboard you are not alone, we are inundated with surfers wanting to know what the crack is with these boards. We’re seeing more and more in the water, just come back from Bali and at the softer spots they seem to have simultaneously replaced grovelers and longboards!
So, what’s making people consider a mid length surfboard? Common sense for starters, not everyone has room or can transport a 9’ plus board and a mid length can get you pretty close to the glide without all that inconvenience. If you have surfed a groveler, mini-simmons or a fish on smaller days, but find you struggle with wave count and maybe generating speed a mid length board might well be the answer.
The other key element with these boards is that they are so adaptable, they work in a wide wave range from smaller weaker days to pretty big stuff too. They trim well, and if you get the right board turn nicely also.
What actually is a Mid Length Surfboard?
There are a different styles of mid lengths designed to suit certain waves and conditions. Someone coming down from a bigger board like a longboard will have different expectations to someone stepping up in length from a shortboard.
Size wise mid lengths run from 6’ 8 to about 8’ 0. This isn’t a definitive size ratio, it just gives an idea of what you’re looking for. Boards under 6’ 8 are invariably hybrids, grovelers, shortboards etc they don’t have the same design ethos as a mid length.
Anything much over 8’ begins to be more longboardy. Longboarding is a different style of surfing compared with surfing shorter boards more about the glide and trim side of surfing rather than tight turns and getting vertical!
We’ll get into the different types and styles of boards shortly. The other thing that sets a mid length apart from shorter boards especially is the 2 + 1 fin set up. Generally mid lengths have this option which opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Different fin set ups can radically transform how the board surfs.
Who surfs mid lengths?
Maybe you! If you normally ride a shortboard but are just simply looking to take new lines without drastically changing the way you surf. If you are struggling with wave count and sick of watching younger fitter surfers get your waves then maybe it’s time to take a look.
It doesn’t mean you have to lose all the performance of a shortboard either... Coming from the other side of things, if you’re are normally on a log a mid length is just the type of board to give you a different but not totally alien aspect on your wave riding.
1. George - shortboarder
Meet George, great customer, we have his permission to profile him. Current quiver a Firewire Evo 5 7, Firewire Chumlee 5 9, Slater Omni 5 9. Previous boards have included Haydenshapes Hyptos, Chilli’s etc so basically a shortboarder. He’s in his 40s and is an average surfer. He’s getting hacked off with a diminishing wave count, despite surfing whenever its on and being pretty fit age is beginning to take its toll!
We loaned him a Mark Phipps One Bad Egg 6’ 8.
When he first looked at it his first words were XXXX off that’s massive. We explained that he should give it a go. He ended up buying it. Reasons? Well it got him into waves so early he could actually laugh at the groms as he shot down the line. He could duck dive it too which was a bit of a surprise for him the OBE 6 8 at 39 litres is duckdiveable (weighs 75kgs), the nose is nicely pulled in so get a bit further forward and it sinks just as easily as a short high volume groveler.
2. Mikee – longboarder
Mikee has 2 young kids, had to get rid of his van and buy a sensible estate, his longboard used to slide in the back of the van easily and go everywhere with him. He now has a car that will accommodate a 7’ 6 board max and a roof box. Life changes and you need to adapt your quiver accordingly. We loaned Mikee a FORM Flow Stik 7’ 6, he looked far from convinced when he inspected it and referred to it as tooth pick.
Off he went with very low expectations, he came back smiling. Plenty of glide, lots of fun, paddled in early and fast and gave him the fix he needed, oh yeah and it fitted in the family car.
3. Rachel – beginner
Rachel has discovered surfing in her late 30s old by some standards, young by others. Rachel is a stylish girl who didn’t want a bottom end pop out or moulded epoxy board, she works in design so wanted something with style that she could master the basics on but also grow into. Rachel took a Bradley Mr Bean 6 10.
Job done, bought it back a week later after a trip to North Devon and ordered a custom version of the Mr Bean with some great (crazy) artwork. She’s improving fast and the board is doing exactly what it should, its stable, paddles well but has enough refinement for us to see Rachel’s progression.
So there it is, a small insight into the world of mid lengths, most of us here are converted. We’re not giving up our other boards just yet but it’s a very refreshing change to surf a mid length either now and again or in concentrated bursts. The old adage that the best surfer is the one having the most fun is a bit clichéd and makes most surfers cringe when they hear it, give a mid length a go, you never know you might like it.